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Each month, I highlight one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for service and support. I define the KPI, provide recent benchmarking data for the metric, and discuss key correlations and cause-and-effect relationships for the metric. The purpose of the column is to familiarize you with the KPIs that really matter to your organization and to provide you with actionable insight on how to leverage these KPIs to improve your performance! This month, I tackle customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is by far the most common measure of quality. It is widely used, not just in IT service and support, but in all industries. It is so ubiquitous that most of us have probably been surveyed within the last week, by our bank, an airline, our insurance company, a hotel, or some other service provider. The metric is so common, that most have an intuitive feel for customer satisfaction. We know, for example, that a customer satisfaction rating of 70% is probably not very good, while a customer satisfaction score of greater than 90% is very good indeed!

Customer satisfaction is the percentage of customers who are either satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of support they receive. It is equally applicable to the service desk and desktop support and is the single most important measure of quality for a support organization. In this article, I will use service desk examples and benchmarking data, but the principles discussed apply equally to desktop support.

Why It’s Important

As we learned in April’s Metric of the Month, cost per ticket and customer satisfaction, are the foundation metrics in service and support. They are the two most important metrics because ultimately everything boils down to cost efficiency (as measured by cost per ticket) and quality of service (as measured by customer satisfaction).

In any service delivery organization, quality of service, as measured by customer satisfaction, is critically important. Customer satisfaction is a measure of how effectively a support organization conducts its business. Every service and support organization should be tracking customer satisfaction on an ongoing basis.

How It’s Measured

There are almost as many different ways to measure customer satisfaction as there are service organizations that track the metric. I have seen surveys that contain as few as one question and surveys that contain as many as 40 questions. I have seen multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and interview-style surveys. I have seen scoring systems that offer as few as 2 choices per question, and as many as 12 choices per question. The result is that customer satisfaction has the greatest variability of any metric in service and support.

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Jeffrey Rumburg

Jeff Rumburg is a co-founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, where he is responsible for global strategy, product development, and financial operations for the company. As a leading expert in benchmarking and re-engineering, Mr. Rumburg authored a best selling book on benchmarking, and has been retained as a benchmarking expert by such well known companies as American Express, Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, IBM, and Sony. Mr. Rumburg was honored in 2014 by receiving the Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the IT Service and Support industry. Prior to co-founding MetricNet, Mr. Rumburg was president and founder of The Verity Group, an international management consulting firm specializing in IT benchmarking. While at Verity, Mr. Rumburg launched a number of syndicated benchmarking services that provided low cost benchmarks to more than 1,000 corporations worldwide. Mr. Rumburg has also held a number of executive positions at META Group, and Gartner. As a vice president at Gartner, Mr. Rumburg led a project team that reengineered Gartner’s global benchmarking product suite. And as vice president at META Group, Mr. Rumburg’s career was focused on business and product development for IT benchmarking. Mr. Rumburg’s education includes an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, an M.S. magna cum laude in Operations Research from Stanford University, and a B.S. magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. He is author of A Hands-On Guide to Competitive Benchmarking: The Path to Continuous Quality and Productivity Improvement, and has taught graduate-level engineering and business courses.

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